Sure, London’s overrun with hard bodies in tight, skimpy outfits performing breathtaking athletic feats, but the big news out of the UK this summer is my debut on the far side of the pond. My short story, The Old Rules, is up in Shots, the esteemed crime fiction e-zine over in the UK. A quick thank you to Emlyn Rees, my editor at Exhibit A, for making the introductions. I’m a little shy, really, so he dragged me over to Ayo Onatade, a comely lass and one of the bigwigs at Shots, and bought her drinks until her judgment was compromised sufficiently to give me a go. Anyway, go read The Old Rules and, if you aren’t familiar with Shots, mosey around the site a bit. Lots of good stuff there. Then we’ll chat. (Impatiently drums fingers . . .)
Done? Good. Here’s the deal. My debut novel, Penance, is due out from Exhibit A in the spring (some of you may know it as Unto Caesar, but Penance is the new title). And, like all authors these days, I know I’ve got to be pretty shameless about pimping the book. So I put on my pimping clothes (see photo) and got to thinking. What’s a boy to do to gin up a little interest? Here’s what I got to thinking.
Seems to me, if I wait until the books out, then I’ve wasted a lot of time. Seems to me I need to be a shameless exhibitionist in the intervening months, do what I can to attract some attention. So I got to thinking about the book, about what I could do to whet your appetites. I came up with this idea.
Penance features a lot of characters who’ve lead long and interesting lives – folks who have been up to things, often not very nice things. Some things that are hinted at in the novel, other things that aren’t. In its own way, the City of Chicago is a character in Penance – the city’s history, its politics and its culture of corruption. So I’m writing a series of short stories to introduce both some of the characters from Penance and my version of the city. I figure if ya’ll like those, well, come publication time, maybe you’ll buy the book. And if you don’t like them, then you’ll know not to waste your money. Thoughtful bastard, aren’t I?
The Shots people were kind enough to kick things off. But several more of these stories will be popping up around the interwebs in the months to come. And I’ll be setting up a Penance page here on the ol’ bloggy-wog, give all my pimping a nice, convenient stroll to hang out on, somewhere I can flash my hairy thighs at you peeps, a place where you always know you can stop by for a little strange when you’re in the mood. Who knows what you might find. Audio versions of the stories, a snippet or two from the novel perhaps, some Chicago history. Stop by from time to time and see what’s new.
I hope you enjoy The Old Rules – it’s the creation myth for Chicago politics in my version of the city. Drop a comment, either over on the Shots blog or here, let me know what you think.
And weigh in on this whole book pimping business, will you? I’m a babe in these here woods. What works? What doesn’t? What should I try next? I mean besides the swimsuit calendar that Keith Rawson and Stephen Blackmoore asked for. They’re getting the only copies of that. They’re special.